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Councils identify alternative accommodation to help the NHS

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Councils are identifying accommodation that could, if required, be turned into temporary care facilities for people when they’re ready to leave hospital, to relieve pressure on the NHS.

The accommodation could also be used to temporarily house additional staff being recruited into healthcare, or staff being redeployed to front line care roles.

Hospitals everywhere are under considerable pressure due to coronavirus (COVID-19), therefore it’s important that patients remain in them only for as long as they require specialist care.

When they’re well enough to no longer need hospital care, patients should be discharged in a timely way to more suitable settings for their recovery, and to relieve pressure on care beds.

Devon County Council and Torbay Council have been talking to organisations in Devon with accommodation that could potentially be adapted to become temporary care facilities for patients who no longer need to be in hospital, but are not well enough yet to return home. This type of care would help in the event of care home bed shortages, but would also be a safe option for patients.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care and health, said:

“This is all part of our contingency planning. Hospitals, and care homes are under a lot of pressure right now, so we are looking at how we can relieve some of that pressure by making sure that there are places for people to move to from hospital the moment they are well enough, in case they are not ready to go home or they can’t be found places in the community, in residential or nursing homes.

“We also want to be able to meet the current need to temporarily house staff being recruited or redeployed to support frontline roles.

“We’re currently working on a number of potential options around Devon.”

Councillor Jackie StockmanTorbay Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, Cllr Jackie Stockman, said:

“We are working extremely closely with partners across the region to support the NHS to ensure that our residents can access the support that they require. This includes providing temporary accommodation where needed. It is crucial that we do everything it takes to keep our care system fully functioning and ease the immense pressure our hospital is facing.”